With Common People on our doorstep, we bagged an interview with the Saturday headliner, legendary British DJ Fatboy Slim, to probe him about his own time at university.
Walking into his dressing room, we were struck by the contents of his table, which consisted of honey, a half eaten bag of Sensation’s crisps, brie cheese, and a selection of large horns that he made frequent use of on stage later on.
Hello! We’re here on behalf of the Soton Tab which is a student newspaper at Southampton University.
Is it called the Tab by any chance? (Glancing at the TAB stickers on our tops).
Yes! So you know about the Tab?
Yes, I’m aware of its reputation. Either that or you just caught me looking at your boobs… (laughter all round)
Are you a fan of the Tab?
I’d never actually heard of the Tab until I just looked at her boobs (more laughter).
Moving swiflty on! As students here we’re obviously really excited about Common People coming to Southampton and it’s great to be speaking to you. We want to know a bit about your life as a student. Apparently you went to Brighton?
I did yes!
And how was it down there?
It was great. I didn’t really get into student life though. I was already kind of entrenched in nightclubs, so I didn’t get involved in the ‘entz’ side of it. But yeah, I got a 2:1.
What did you study?
A combined Humanities BA- Geography and Sociology. So qualified to be a social worker, if nothing else. But it was always a fallback degree. I’d always said to myself I want to be in the music business, and parents were like “umm, okay”, but encouraged me to have a degree to fall back on, just in case. So I did it and that gave me the confidence to pursue what I really wanted to do. So even though I didn’t use the degree at all, I don’t think I would’ve thrown myself into the music business if I hadn’t had it.
I actually recently went back and I got Almunus of the year from the University, and the basis of my speech was “now you’ve done the hard work doesn’t mean you have to follow what you’ve studied”. Obviously if you’ve studied to be a biochemist for three years you’d be stupid not to get into that industry, but if you’re there just to prove you can stick to something then you’ve now proved it, and if you’ve got other dreams go follow them!
Recognise this cheeky chappy? Today we welcome back as our 2015 Alumnus Award winner
— Uni Brighton alumni ()
So did being in Brighton help your DJ career?
Oh yeah. I mean, I picked Brighton as the city I wanted to go to and then picked a course and a Uni. I grew up in Surrey and my sister went to Brighton University before me, so for two years I’d been hanging out in Brighton and was already very involved in the DJ and club scene down there, so yeah I targeted Brighton as a fun city rather than anything academic.
What advice would you give to student DJs?
Well I don’t know about now, but in my day uni wasn’t a 9-5 thing. Especially by third year, you don’t have a huge amount of lectures, so you do have time to explore other things and start thinking about it. And nowadays, a student can afford the kind of equipment you need to get to know. Before, if you wanted to have a recording studio in your house you needed a full-time job or a mortgage to do it, but now you can do it on a laptop. So you can be messing about and getting stuff ready.
There are people signed to my label who are still at university, but they can make records and they can do odd shows here and there. You can’t fully throw yourself into it, but you can definitely be doing the groundwork. And it’s a nice escape from studies. If you’re, say, doing Biochemistry and you want to be a musician, it’s nice to clear your head from your studies.
I saw you at Bestival- what’s your favourite festival to perform at?
Glastonbury… I was supposed to say Bestival wasn’t I? (Laughs) Bestival would be in my top five. Bestival’s the reason I’m here, because of Rob and Josie who run it. And I know they always put that extra bit of love and absurdity into it.
It’s not like V or Reading where you just go there and see a load of bands. There’s a real character to it. So that’s the reason I’m here. Any festivals that are more than just the bands who are playing. Any festival that will sell out without announcing the line-up must be a good festival, and therefore you want to be in that line-up.
Do you think Common People is here to stay?
I’ll tell you later on tonight and at the end of the weekend! It’s always a strange one doing a festival so close to a town. In the middle of nowhere there are less people to annoy. It depends on people’s behavior on the way home, and whether people get hurt because there is a lot of things that can go wrong at a festival, so we’ll touch some wood it doesn’t.
As Fatboy searches his dressing room for wood to tap- eventually going for the wall- we’re told our time is up. We don’t walk out without a picture though. On offering him a Tab sticker for the snap, he places it carefully on his shirt, before asking for another that he can keep!